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River Of Light: A Contemporary Westside House Designed To Follow The Sun

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Sun Oct 01 2017 07:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Set on a corner lot surrounded by a mix of conventional single-story houses, bungalows and Spanish- and colonial-style homes, Mercier?s design makes a strong statement

Christopher Mercier grew up in the midwest, where the notion of a stucco home was anathema. ?In Detroit, everyone grows up in a brick house,? he says. ?We didn?t even know what stucco was.? When the architect was engaged by a client who had also migrated west from Detroit, he decided to instill some midwestern aesthetic values: He designed a brick-clad house that would also celebrate contemporary southern California living. Set on a corner lot surrounded by a mix of conventional single-story houses, bungalows and Spanish- and colonial-style homes, Mercier?s design makes a strong statement but doesn?t overwhelm the site. He set the house back from the sidewalks, creating ample space and a margin of privacy; the brick on the front?framed by crisp metal trim?and the stained cedar siding along the side also add texture and color that play nicely with the mature pine trees bordering the north edge of the lot. He then balanced the structure?s gravitas with the lightness of a two-story glass entrance volume that reveals a walnut staircase and the vestibule, creating the illusion that you can see through the house. ?Brick comes out of a Roman past,? Mercier notes. ?It?s heavy, it?s durable and it implies substance?it suggests that the building will be there for a long time. But in this case, by contrasting it with glass, I wanted to create a kind of yin and yang reference to the interiors, which are light and open.?